On May 16th we held our annual BC Mining Month Community Fair in Vancouver that was attended by nearly 550 students from Lower Mainland schools. More than 80 industry volunteers staffed the exhibits, demonstrations and hands-on activities, each and every one of them enjoying the opportunity to share with youth what they know about and love. Thank you to the teachers and parent volunteers for venturing out of the classroom for this special learning opportunity. See what our volunteers and industry partner, Western Canadian Coal, had to say about the Fair, below!
May 17, 2018
Written by Melanie MacKay, P.Geo
President at Western Canadian Coal Society, Coal Quality Specialist, Director at Ridley Terminals Inc.
May is BC Mining Month, and annual celebration of the importance of the modern mining industry to British Columbians. Details on what was happening around our province can be found at http://events.mining.bc.ca/. Volunteers from the Western Canadian Coal Society spent May 16th with MineralsEd at the BC Mining Month Community Fair in Vancouver, the second year we have been a part of this educational Fair for youth
The Community Fair was held at the Creekside Community Centre in Vancouver. It is geared toward elementary school students and we saw upwards of 525 students attend the fair this year. MineralsEd organized the event which hosted 30 learning stations on topics including mine reclamation, froth flotation, paleontology, mineral exploration, and assaying to name a few.
For those who don't know - MineralsEd (Mineral Resources Education Program of BC) was created to assist teachers in their development of educational materials to support teaching about minerals, mining and geoscience in the classroom. MineralsEd's goals are to foster a well-informed public through school education based on accurate and balanced minerals information, and to stimulate young peoples' interest in minerals industry careers.
The WCCS hosted a station where we taught students how coal is formed, where coal is mined in BC, typical uses of coal (Thermal and Metallurgical), ingredients used in the steel-making process and coal exports. Most students knew that coal was used for heating or in power generation, but NONE of them knew that it was used to make steel. We had a great day teaching about iron and steelmaking. Manning the WCCS directors, Mike Allen and Melanie Mackay. North Coal's Dave Thompson taught visitors at the Diamond Drilling station about exploring the subsurface for a deposit. Guy GIlron manned part of the Sustainablity Station, introducing students to what mine site reclamation entails.
Above photo, from left to right; Guy Gilron, MSc, RPBio, ICD.D (Borealis Environmental Consulting Inc.); Mike Allen (Norwest Corporation); Melanie MacKay, P.Geo (Trillium Geoscience Ltd.); Adriana Matesoi (Independant); Dave Thompson (North Coal Limited), P.Geo.
What we discovered was that children, even at the grade 7 level, have no preconceived ideas that mining is bad. They don't think that 'coal is dirty'. It's lovely to teach them about our industry because they are open to learning and have not yet been swayed by anti-mining groups or environmentalist campaigns. If ever there is a place to advocate for our industry this is the place. I should also add - these students are the future generations of environmental scientists, chemists, geologists, engineers, drillers, truck operators, and blasters.
We are truly lucky that MineralsEd exists. They are an unbiased resource where teachers can obtain up-to-date, technically correct resources to facilitate the teaching of mining and minerals in the classroom. What’s great for us as a mining community is that the future 'public' is getting educated, resulting in the best advocacy we could ask for.
Thank you MineralsEd, specifically Sheila Stenzel, for a fantastically organized event!